Article

Heritage Languages

Maria Polinsky

in Linguistics

ISBN: 9780199772810
Published online October 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199772810-0067
Heritage Languages

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  • Linguistics
  • Anthropological Linguistics
  • Language Families
  • Psycholinguistics
  • Sociolinguistics

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Heritage languages are spoken by early bilinguals, simultaneous or sequential, whose home language (L1) is severely restricted because of insufficient input. As a result, they can understand the home language and may speak it to some degree but feel more at ease in the dominant language of their society. The study of heritage languages is a relatively new field in linguistics. It draws on research on first language and language acquisition, bilingualism (as heritage speakers are a subset of bilinguals), and language attrition. Researchers have taken two main approaches in studies of heritage language: research that examines patterns found in heritage languages from the standpoint of universal grammar, on the one hand, and research that emphasizes sociolinguistic or more applied aspects of heritage languages, on the other.

Article.  6957 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Anthropological Linguistics ; Language Families ; Psycholinguistics ; Sociolinguistics

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